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But over time it came to cover all stitched decoration on any textile fabric.The first textiles were probably made from intertwined stems and grasses, until a way of twisting short fibres and animal hairs into continuous strands evolved about 10,000 BC.Peasant embroidery is a purely domestic skill which is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter.The stitches are simple to work and the fabric readily available - usually regularly woven linen, sometimes cotton.
The term was first applied to decoratively stitched borders on medieval church vestments.
Colours were often limited to two or three, but these would be brilliantly dyed and often accentuated by dark brown or black outlines.
In rural areas of western China, cross stitch was nearly always worked in indigo blue thread on coarse white cotton fabric.
An alternative school of thought believes that the spread of cross stitch embroidery may have been in the opposite direction, since the first important migration of foreigners into China took place during the T’ang Dynasty.
Persians, Arabs and travellers from Greece and India followed the silk routes to China and many eventually settled there.